IndyCar 2015 team preview: CFH Racing

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Good apart, but stronger together? That’s the likely goal for the now merged CFH Racing, the amalgamation of past single-car operations Ed Carpenter Racing and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

Team: CFH Racing
Engine/aero kits: Chevrolet
Sponsors: Fuzzy’s Vodka (No. 20), Hartman Oil (No. 67)

2014 STATS (As separate Ed Carpenter Racing, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing)

Races: 18
Wins: 3 (Conway 2, Carpenter 1)
Podiums: 5 (Conway 2, Carpenter 2, Newgarden 1)
Pole Positions: 1 (Carpenter)
Fastest Laps: 2 (Newgarden)
Points: 1014 (Newgarden 406, Carpenter 262, Conway 252, Hildebrand 66, Tagliani 28)
Laps Led: 181 (Carpenter 122, Conway 36, Newgarden 20, Tagliani 3)
Championship Position: 13th (Newgarden), 22nd (Carpenter), 23rd (Conway), 26th (Hildebrand), 31st (Tagliani)

2015 LINEUP (Engineers in parentheses)

20 Ed Carpenter (Ovals; Matt Barnes)
20 Luca Filippi (Road/Streets; Matt Barnes)
67 Josef Newgarden (Jeremy Milless)

2014 RECAP (Newgarden, Carpenter/Conway driver recaps)

As separate single-car entities, Ed Carpenter Racing was incredible and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing equally pesky and unlucky during the 2014 season. ECR won three races, second only to Team Penske in terms of volume during the year. Meanwhile SFHR threatened on multiple occasions – notably Mid-Ohio – but was unable to seal the deal.

2015 OUTLOOK

Combined under the CFH Racing banner, you’d have to expect more of the same in terms of this team posing the biggest threat outside the “established” power teams. Newgarden is a star in the making who has been desperately unlucky to have not won a race in his first three seasons. Carpenter remains one of IndyCar’s best on ovals. And Filippi has a high ceiling and pure, raw speed. This team could produce two first-time winners during the year, Carpenter is always a threat at Indy, and Newgarden has his best chance yet to end top-10 in points for the first time.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”